SAN FRANCISCO — Pinterest has held talks to purchase VSCO, a pictures app that spawned a teenage social media craze, in accordance to two folks with information of the matter.
The discussions are ongoing, mentioned the folks, who declined to be recognized as a result of they weren’t licensed to converse publicly. A deal value couldn’t be realized; Pinterest has a market capitalization of about $49 billion, whereas VSCO has raised $90 million in funding and was final valued at $550 million. An acquisition might not materialize, the folks cautioned.
Representatives from Pinterest and VSCO (pronounced “vis-coe”) declined to touch upon deal talks.
Julie Inouye, a spokeswoman for VSCO, mentioned the firm was targeted on increasing its enterprise. “We’re always meeting with different companies across the creative space at any given time and do not discuss rumors or speculation,” she mentioned.
Pinterest and VSCO, which stands for Visual Supply Company, are a part of a bunch of tech corporations which are extremely targeted on digital photographs and visible modifying and that rely much less on social networking options. Pinterest, a digital pin board web site that went public in 2019, lets its customers uncover and save photographs to encourage inventive initiatives or to plan vital elements of their lives, together with residence renovations, weddings and meals.
VSCO, a 10-year-old start-up, makes an app for editing and sharing images and videos. In 2019, it became popular with a Generation Z group that came to be known as “VSCO girls,” who were known for wearing Crocs and carrying Hydro Flasks. The idea of VSCO girls went viral, inspiring social media imitation, mockery, memes and Halloween costumes.
For Pinterest, buying a once-buzzy start-up that was popular with younger audiences and that has expertise in photo- and video-editing technologies could bolster its core service, the people said.
Since Pinterest went public, its revenue has grown, though analysts have said they don’t expect Pinterest to become regularly profitable until 2022. It has also expanded internationally.
During the pandemic, the company experienced a surge of interest as people were locked down and turned to more digital activities. Pinterest added 100 million monthly active users last year and now has a total of 450 million monthly active users.
The San Francisco company also faced social unrest last year. In December, it agreed to pay $22.5 million to settle a gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit from its former chief operating officer, one of the largest publicly announced individual settlements for gender discrimination. Two female employees of color who quit last year also publicly discussed their experiences with racist and sexist comments, pay inequities and retaliation at the company.
Founded in 2011, VSCO became known among younger users as a kind of anti-social network. The app does not have likes, comments or follower counts, so it appeared to put less pressure on users to build up a fan base. VSCO also eschews advertising, instead earning money by charging people for extra features. Of its 100 million registered users, more than two million are paying subscribers.
When VSCO girls became a cultural phenomenon in late 2019, investor interest in the start-up swelled. But the fad has since cooled off. When the pandemic hit, VSCO laid off 30 percent of its employees. In December, it acquired Trash, a mobile app for video editing, and said it planned to continue acquiring companies in 2021.